By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council voted Monday to form a new sub-committee to work on an ordinance that would approve the use of electric vehicles and golf carts on city streets after Mayor Jerry Brittsan requested that the item be added to the agenda.
City Manager Alex Meyerhoff suggested that a sub-committee be formed to study the issue, telling the council that the police chief has a few concerns that need to addressed, but that the vehicles are “probably appropriate for most streets” in Holtville.
“I have quite a passion for this and I’d like to be on the sub-committee,” said Brittsan who told the council that he’d recently spent $561 on an EZ-GO kit to convert his golf cart to a street-legal vehicle.
In his report to the council Meyerhoff says that there is a demand in the community for an ordinance to allow the vehicles, but that more planning is needed.
“Plans are needed to overcome connection issues, identify safe routes and enable clear communication about where residents can go in low speed vehicles,” Meyerhoff wrote in his report. “The city would need to prepare a plan and implementation ordinance to leverage the existing public street network for maximum transportation benefit. A plan would identify low speed connectors and potential NEV/bike lane backbone facilities within and between the city and the surrounding communities within Imperial County.
Meyerhoff says the city has applied for a TIGER grant from the federal government that could provide funding for a bike path, and possibly an electric vehicle path from Barbara Worth Resort into the city, but he says it’s a long shot. Competition for the grant is fierce with $14 billion being requested and only $500 million granted in the last cycle.
According to Meyerhoff’s report neighborhood electric vehicles provide a low speed, zero emission transportation option that can assist communities and regions in improving mobility while reducing carbon-based vehicle emissions and related pollution.
By Luke Phillips